Strawberries are easy to grow, and they are high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. The two main types include June-bearing and everbearing. June-bearers produce one high-yielding crop per year, early in the summer. This one large crop makes them ideal for canning and freezing. The second main type is the everbearers. Everbearers basically produce two crops each year; the first in late June/early July, and the second in the early fall. Day neutrals are considered everbearers, and they will produce early July through the fall. Everbearers are ideal for summer-long snacking.
SOIL PREPARATION AND PLANTING
Strawberries will be happiest and sweetest in a full sun location with fertile, well-draining soil. Adding compost to the area before planting is recommended to encourage good drainage, moisture retention and to boost the available nutrients. For good drainage, we suggest planting in a raised bed to help the plants stay free of any root rot problems, at least 10 to 12 inches high.
Space the plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Plant with the roots straight down, with the middle of the crown set level with the top of the soil. Avoid covering the crown. Top dress with Down To Earth Rose and Flower fertilizer two weeks after planting to help the roots get established. Mulching your strawberries is an effective practice to help with weed control and moisture retention. Many weeds will compete for nutrients and water, making it a good idea to keep your strawberry area weed free.
JUNE BEARING – CARE
With June-bearers, it is important to remove all flowers during their first year in the ground to allow for crucial root development. You will be rewarded the second year with a much healthier and more abundant crop.
To maintain your June-bearers after the crop has been harvested, it is important to cut the foliage back to 2 inches above the crown and remove all the extra debris. This is called renovation, and it will help with next year’s yield as well as disease resistance. In mid to late July, trim off all but 2 to 3 runners from each mother plant. A helpful rule is to remove all runners that have not rooted by September 1. Fertilize with a balanced organic fertilizer in late summer to encourage fall growth.
EVER BEARING – CARE
With everbearers, it is important to remove only the first flush of flowers, allowing for root establishment. After July 1, you can leave all new flowers to mature into fruit. As with June-bearers, it is a good idea to trim off all but 2 to 3 runners in mid to late July. Again, it is a helpful rule to trim off any runners that have not rooted by September 1. Fertilize everbearers in small amounts throughout the growing season with a balanced organic fertilizer.
KEEP IN MIND
Strawberries are shallow rooted, and like plenty of water-especially their first year. Cover with floating row cover if the temperature dips below freezing to avoid any flower damage.
Keep strawberries weeded. Gather more strawberry growing tips and information from your favorite gardening books, and online.